WILKES-BARRE — A baseline collision. A yelp. Quieterriua Gross hit the deck and Meyers was without its leading scorer.
As a team trainer checked out her left leg, Gross’ sister Quinniea walked over from the bench to talk to her.
“I was trying to tell her to calm down, relax, stretch it out,” Quinniea Gross said. “But she told me she was hurt. Right then and there, I knew I had to step up.”
That she did.
Quinniea Gross and Salimah Biggs both came through for the seventh-seeded Mohawks, who shook off the injury and charged past No. 10 Nanticoke 67-49 on Thursday in the first round of the District 2 Class 3A tournament.
“Obviously when your best offensive player goes down in a (close) game, all sorts of things start running through your head,” Meyers coach Chris Gray said. “They haven’t had to play without her all year long, so I’m sure there were things going through their heads — ‘Can we do this without her?’
“But I can honestly say all six of them that went in the game after that point, they all stepped up. Quinniea Gross had us on her back there for awhile. She dominated that first half.”
Indeed, Quinniea scored 12 of her game-high 25 points in the first quarter and helped the Mohawks build a 30-27 advantage at the half.
But when sister Quieterriua left the game for good early in the third quarter, the Meyers lead was just 36-32. And the sight of her needing two people to help her off the court could have possibly wrecked the Mohawks, who were already missing senior guard Brianna DiMaggio with an injury.
Instead, an inspired two-minute stretch by Biggs (18 points) saw her come up with steals, rebounds and three straight buckets in transition to push the Mohawks advantage to double digits.
Nanticoke wasn’t able to recover.
“Give Meyers credit,” Trojanettes coach Alan Yendrzeiwski said. “Even with Gross going down, the rest of the kids did a great job stepping up to the plate. Hats off to Meyers.
“You don’t really think about momentum at the time. But I know we cut it to two, and all of a sudden, it seemed like in about a minute it went from two to 10.”
Biggs’ energy seemed to carry through the entire team and the Mohawks ended up outscoring Nanticoke by 15 in the second half, earning their third win of the season over the Trojanettes.
“The way Salimah Biggs put a charge into us after Quieterriua went down, we’ve known she’s capable of that all year,” Gray said. “We’ve been waiting to see that spark out of her all year, and hopefully it’s coming at the right time.”
Deanna Thomas (15 points) and Heidi Kile (14) led Nanticoke on the night.
Up next for the Mohawks is a quarterfinal showdown with Holy Redeemer on Saturday. Meyers’ chances may hinge on the status of Quieterriua Gross, who initially couldn’t put weight on the leg but was able to walk around on her own after the game.
“She wanted to go back in the game,” Gray said. “She came out at one point and said that she could go back in. If that was a two-point game, would the answer have been different? But we’ll figure that out tomorrow and see where we stand for Saturday.”
Meyers 67, Nanticoke 49
NANTICOKE (49) — Deanna Thomas 5 3-4 15, Riley Klepadlo 2 0-0 5, Amber Grohowski 2 0-0 6, Heidi Kile 5 4-4 14, Gianna Roberts 4 0-2 8, Chelsea Swanberry 0 0-0 0, Abbey Zaykoski 0 0-0 0, Cassie Novakowski 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 8-12 49.
MEYERS (67) — Salimah Biggs 9 0-0 18, Alaena Lloyd 1 0-0 3, Gianna Skaff 3 0-0 6, Quinniea Gross 12 1-1 25, Quieterriua Gross 4 1-2 9, Elise Fellerman 2 2-2 6, Tiffany Muniz 0 0-0 0. Totals 31 4-5 67.
Three-point goals — NAN 5 (Thomas 2, Grohowski 2, Klepaldo); MEY 1 (Lloyd).